December 12, 2012

A CERTAIN SAMENESS:

On Moral Values, Liberals More Prone to Stereotype Than Conservatives (Tom Jacobs, 12/10/12, Pacific Standard)

Regarding issues of morality, "people overestimate how dramatically liberals and conservatives differ," psychologists Jesse Graham, Brian Nosek and Jonathan Haidt write in the online journal PLoS One. Specifically, their research suggests those on the left unfairly assume their counterparts on the right are cold-hearted on issues involving harm and fairness.

"There are real moral differences between liberals and conservatives," the researchers write, "but people across the political spectrum exaggerate the magnitude of these differences, and in so doing create opposing moral stereotypes that are shared by all." [...]

"Extreme liberals exaggerated the moral political differences the most, and moderate conservatives did so the least," Graham and his colleagues report. "Liberals were the least accurate about conservatives and about liberals."

Liberals tended to stereotype conservatives as uncaring, rather than realize that conservatives' genuine concerns about harm and fairness are tempered by other moral values that have less value to the left, such as loyalty and respect for authority.

Distorting the picture further, liberals tend to underestimate the degree to which their fellow liberals take those "conservative" values into account when making moral evaluations. Although conservatives did this to some degree, liberals showed a stronger tendency to stereotype their political soul mates, assuming an exaggerated level of ideological purity.
Posted by at December 12, 2012 8:44 PM
  
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